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Resolution-BurnedOutCar


D200 D2x
click for large versions

Introduction

This page compares the resolving power of the D2X and D200 using a burned-out car I came across (“as-is, no warranty”). The 50mm/f1.4D at f9 was used—a long-time excellent performer.

Note that because of the different camera heights, exact perspective cannot be maintained between the two cameras, so there is a slight difference in perspective resulting from realignment of the camera position (though the tripod remained fixed). This is always an issue with relatively closely-focused frames such as this one. Subject distance was approximately 6 feet and focus was in the center.

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Center/mid/corner crops at f8

The D200 crops were upsized to match the D2X resolution so as to make comparison straightforward (using Photoshop “Bicubic Sharper”).  The improved resolution of the D2X is modest, but noticeable, especially after some sharpening is applied [example 1, example 2]; the D2X image has more “pop”.

Click on each unsharpened image below to see an unsharpened crop approximately 2/3 of the frame (you may find it helpful to layer them in Photoshop for comparison).

Nikon 50mm/f1.4D @ f9
unsharpened
D200

D2X

Sharpening really brings out the extra detail that the D2X provides:

Nikon 50mm/f1.4D @ f9
Unsharp Mask {300, 0.3, 0}
D200

D2X

Shown below is another crop showing the improved D2X resolution:

Nikon 50mm/f1.4D @ f9
Unsharp Mask {300, 0.3, 0}
D200 D2X

Of course, as depth of field begins to fall off (eg sensor resolution begins to exceed optical performance), resolution differences begin to disappear as seen below:

Nikon 50mm/f1.4D @ f9
Unsharp Mask {300, 0.3, 0}
D200 D2X

Conclusions

The Nikon D2X offers a modest but significant resolution advantage, with the D200 close behind.  This resolution difference will only be realized within a narrow depth of field and so may not be of critical importance for subjects where depth of field constrains the available resolution (eg “3D” subjects with no fixed point of attention).

The D200 exhibits slightly lower contrast than the D2X in this test, but close examination of the images shows that the resolution advantage of the D2X is real, and not just apparent resolution due to higher contrast.

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